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News > Press Releases > Press Release

Press Release

Release Date: June 26, 2009

by Dana Hudspeth

  • Lisa Billy

  • Daniel Worcester

  • Overton Love

  • Tessie Mobley

A Pickens District judge, a state representative, an accomplished bladesmith, and a world-famous opera singer will be inducted into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, August 13, at Riverwind Casino in Norman, Okla.

John Herrington, an astronaut and the first enrolled member of a Native American tribe to fly in space, will serve as master of ceremonies.

Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby will participate in the induction ceremonies.

“Each of these individuals has made significant contributions to the Chickasaw Nation and to the larger community,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “It is our privilege to honor these individuals who have dedicated their lives to serving others.”

The late Overton “Sobe” Love distinguished himself as a Pickens District judge and was the Chickasaw representative to Congress during the William L. Byrd Administration.

Judge Love worked extensively with the enrollment of Chickasaw citizens during the days of the Dawes Commission. He fought hard for his people at a time when the U.S. government was trying to suppress Native American culture.

The Oklahoma Constitutional Convention honored Overton Love by naming Love County after him.

In 2004, Lisa Johnson-Billy, Purcell, was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in District 42. She is the first Native American and woman elected from this district.

In 2006, Rep. Billy initiated the first Oklahoma Native American Caucus and currently serves as its co-chair. She is also vice-chair of the majority caucus and a deputy whip.

Prior to her election to the Oklahoma Legislature, Rep. Billy served six years as a legislator for the Chickasaw Nation. In addition, she was an educator in the Department of Continuing education at the University of Oklahoma.

Daniel Worcester, Lone Grove, forges works of art by hand from common objects such as old wagon springs, tools and steel files. An accomplished bladesmith, Mr. Worcester creates one-of-a kind knives with handles made of a variety of materials.

His work has won many awards at major art shows, including eight first-place awards from the Santa Fe Indian Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Mr. Worcester’s knives have also been exhibited at many major museums across the United States, including the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the Museum of Arts & Design in New York.

Mr. Worcester has participated in many Chickasaw Nation-sponsored events and has lent his knowledge and expertise to programs supporting Chickasaw art and artists.

The late Tessie “Lushanya” Mobley became a world-famous operatic soprano in the 1940s and 1950s. Born and raised on a farm near Ardmore, she went on to train in music at American universities and later studied in Germany.

Sometimes called “Songbird of the Chickasaws,” her first major solo performance was in the Hollywood Bowl for the 1929 Inter-tribal Indian Ceremonial. Her debut with the Chicago Opera Company at the Teatro Verdi Opera House in Trieste, Italy helped launch her career as an opera singer.

Rep. Billy and Mr. Worcester are scheduled to be present to accept their awards. Family members are expected to accept the award on behalf Judge Love and Ms. Mobley.

Hall of Fame inductees will make a red carpet entrance at 6 p.m. and a Native-themed banquet will begin at 6:30 p.m.

There is no charge to attend, but reservations are required for the event, which is expected to accommodate approximately 525 guests.

Reservations will be accepted beginning July 1. General seating will be open this year, so it is important to arrive early for the ceremony.

To make reservations, contact Brian Cooke at 580-559-0781 or e-mail